Top campaigns 2016


2016. In amongst the political ups and downs, tributes to lost icons and inspirational sporting achievements, brands (and agencies) were also creating some of the best campaigns the industry has ever witnessed.Here, we list the top five campaigns we saw over the past 12 months:

ManBoobs defeat censorship rules

South American breast cancer awareness charity MACMA wanted to demonstrate to women the best way to perform self-examinations via a sharable online video, but censorship rules meant that women’s breasts could not be shown. The answer? Manboobs. The ingenious campaign not only circumvented nudity rules, it used them to encourage conversation about both breast cancer and what should be shown.One week after its debut, the video had more than 40 million views and has been shared over 70,000 times, delivering earned media worth US$17m (£12.8m).

Adidas turn to dark social


Looking beyond traditional influencer marketing and tapping into data which shows 70% of global brand referrals happen on dark social, Adidas launched its Tango Squads in 2016. Communities of hyper-connected football obsessives were targeted through direct messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Line.

The ‘squads’, which brought together groups of between 100-250 socially savvy and football mad 16-19 year olds, were individually managed by Adidas’ in-house team and received exclusive content and new products before they were even unveiled on the brand’s social channels.

“It’s not about sheer reach,” said Florain Alt, Adidas’ Senior Director of Global Brand Communications, “what the hyper-connected kids bring is mass awareness. These are the guys who will push out your stories and content. They give it longevity and authenticity, because they are talking in a private messaging app. If it comes as a referral from your mate, you’re much more likely to pick it up than if it comes from a brand.”

ANZ Banking campaign for equal pay

This campaign for Australian and New Zealand banking group ANZ was a simple but effective demonstration of the gender pay gap. To mark International Women’s Day, children were asked to carry out household chores where the girls were paid less than the boys. The resulting video featured their reactions when they received their payment.

The campaign reached over 1.5billion people in 93 countries, with the hashtag #equalfuture trending on Twitter. It also went on to claim a Cannes Gold Lion.

Don’t Drink and Drive – a different perspective

In April, the Safe Roads Alliance cleverly showed the difference in attitudes toward drunk driving and texting at the wheel.

For the 90-second video, a hidden camera filmed passenger reactions to a drunken cab driver, played by an actor guzzling energy drinks and water. The responses are invariably harsh, usually involving swearing, insults and a quick demand to pull over. But when the driver pretends to send and receive texts — an activity that injures more people each year than alcohol-related crashes — passengers stay friendly and docile.

The content was seeded across online channels to mark the start of the USA’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

A party political playground

The Green Party took a rather different approach to their party political broadcasting last April, highlighting David Cameron’s and Jeremy Corbyn’s childish behaviours. With the tagline “tired of playground politics?”, the party represented themselves as the alternative to the business-as-usual approach.

“This political infighting isn’t helping anyone,” said the Green’s spokesperson at the end of the broadcast. “While the other parties throw around insults, we’ve been working hard for you.”

The video worked, with over half a million hits to the party’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts registered within a day of the party election broadcast going live.

But that’s not all. We also had our fair share of success last year.

Our work saw us cook up the world’s first anti-ageing gin for Warner Leisure Hotels, create an Eagle from tyres and paint for Goodyear Tyres UK&I and challenge business owners to maximise their potential by through sporting comparisons for Opus Energy, to name just a few.

With nominations across the PR Moment Awards, The Drum DREAM Awards and The Drum Content Awards, it’s clear to say 2016 was a year of triumph for us, and the industry.

BlogColin Cather